{ Co-designed and fisher-driven ICTs towards transformation of small-scale fisheries governance, ‘from hook to cook}

The ABALOBI initiative is an open, transdisciplinary and social learning endeavour, bringing together various stakeholders, with traditional fishers taking centre stage. ABALOBI, as a mobile app suite and programme, is aimed at social justice and poverty alleviation in the small-scale fisheries chain, transformation in the way we produce knowledge, stewardship of our marine resources, and resilience building in the face of climate change.

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Many of our team members, including the small-scale fishers of South Africa, were integrally involved in the design of South Africa’s new Small-Scale Fisheries Policy, which emanated from a Constitutional Court Order and international human and fishing rights obligations. ABALOBI brings us together as an extension of our research, advocacy and policy work, and launches us into implementation and co-operative governance.
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{ Working towards good governance and embracing a human-rights-based approach to fisheries: Through the development of an integrated small-scale fisheries information management system and mobile app suite, the ABALOBI initiative aims to enable small-scale fishing communities to be incorporated into information and resource networks: from fishery monitoring and maritime safety, to local development and market opportunities }

ABALOBI, isiXhosa for small-scale fisher, is the name given to the app suite by small-scale fisherfolk involved in the co-development process


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    Promoting stewardship

    Fishers encouraged to serve as custodians and promote sustainability. Allows opportunity for integration with conservation efforts.

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    Empowerment in the value chain

    Working towards community-supported fisheries and traceable slowfish. Empowerment through market information and collective action.

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    Co-operative fisheries governance

    Using a common knowledge base, based on fishers’ daily data, all stakeholders at the co-management table are poised equally.

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    Ecosystems approach to fisheries

    Decisions by fishers and other stakeholders can be based on ecological and social indicators.

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    Climate change adaptation

    Improved safety at sea and resilience building in the face of climate change.

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    Enabling tool for policy implementation

    Small-Scale Fisheries Policy (South Africa) and UN-FAO Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (International)

{ What started as a participatory action research project with a strong community development interface, has evolved into a social enterprise that is now being registered as a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) and public benefit entity to better serve its fisher-driven mission }

Transdisciplinary research

Stakeholders work together in framing the problem and research needs, leading to the co-design of the tool based on input and tests in real-life contexts.

Co-design and fisher-driven process

Ensures data ownership and trust. Practical development and implementation within a bottom-up, participatory framework. Focus on product, process and enabling policy.

Open source & free for small-scale fishers

Leveraging the latest tech and open source platforms. Sharing innovations globally.

Recognition of fishers’ knowledge

Bridging local knowledge with science and policy. Developing knowledge for co-management.

ICT4D for small-scale fisheries: The ABALOBI initiative is about catalysing real transformation, of knowledge generation, of people, and of resource governance


The ABALOBI app suite comprises five inter-connected apps – conceptualised in a co-design process and currently in various stages of development and testing. The five apps cover the full spectrum of stakeholders in the small-scale fisheries sector from hook to cook, governance and beyond. Learn more …


The foundation of the app suite where fishers co–produce knowledge. Personal logbook with sharing options. Safety-at-sea integrations. More ...


Digitised community catch monitoring at the landing site & along the shoreline. More ...


Real-time fishery data & communications for co-management. More ...


Co-operative member & fleet management. Collective & transparent accounting. Catch value-adding. More ...


Fish with an ecological & social ‘story‘. Towards community-supported fisheries. Empowerment in the value chain. More ...

International reach

Beyond South Africa: An open source approach to the development of the ABALOBI platform seeks to allow customisation and use by small-scale fisheries stakeholders worldwide, aligned with the implementation of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation’s (FAO’s) Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries.


Aligned with the United Nations SDGs


Founding partners


Get involved

We are seeking to expand our partnerships and procure additional funding for the continued development of ABALOBI. We welcome expressions of interest from prospective funders and research, technology & implementation partners ...

In the news


We've made giant strides with our ABALOBI MONITOR app, which we will be showcasing to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries next week. It integrates completely with our logbook (ABALOBI FISHER) to streamline and promote collaborative, transparent #smallscalefisheries data capturing. We've received great international interest and are currently exploring customisation for dockside and shoreline monitoring in Indonesia, Ireland, St Helena and elsewhere, and even inland fisheries in Uganda (Lake Victoria) and South Africa. #ProudlySouthAfrican #ICT4Fisheries #ICT4D ... See MoreSee Less

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This morning ABALOBI went back to #Langebaan for follow-up training and registration of fishers. The Langebaan crew were excited to finally get their hands wet and get their hands on the ABALOBI FISHER logbook app. Norton Dowries, registered as a local fisher assistant who will help local fishers to get used to the logbook, suggested that size monitoring should also be included in the virtual logbook for fishers to start tracking size trends and recording their observations and knowledge. Meeting at the Cape Access-supported eCentre, the fishers each had an opportunity to input data and get the feel of the logbook ...

Mrs Patricia Rodgers became the first woman fisher to use ABALOBI FISHER logbook this morning in Langebaan. Patricia, born in Langebaan, comes from a traditional fishing family that has depended on the lagoon for their livelihoods for generations. Her family, the Warnicks, lived where the yacht club now stands and were involved in the harvesting of white mussel shells at the shell factory. Patricia is now married to Mr Rodgers - a traditional fisherman. She is actively involved in managing the family fishing process and assists her husband with the cleaning, packing and marketing of fish. She also makes 'bokkoms' - a traditional west coast dried harder speciality.

#genderequality #smallscalefisheries #abalobi #ict4fisheries #ict4d #proudlysouthafrican
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One of the unique things about ABALOBI is that over the past 18 months we have received tremendous pro bono and volunteering support on many fronts, for which we are immensely grateful!

This month we spent a week with Salesforce.com's Clément Therrillione and Thomas Mouraille based in Ireland, fine-tuning the use of our Salesforce platform and internal analytics. These two fine gentlemen gave freely of their time, offered sage advice to our developers, and expressed commitment to the ABALOBI project beyond their week-long trip to South Africa. Thank you Salesforce.com for your contributions to and belief in our initiative!
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ABALOBI shared From Hook to Cook's post. ... See MoreSee Less

The #fromhooktocook had the most amazing day yesterday in Hangberg, Hout Bay collecting traditional ...

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In case you missed it, this powerful videographic encapsulates what drives us in the development of @abalobi_app ... ... See MoreSee Less

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